Louise Newman reinterprets an important period (1870s-1920s) in the history of women's rights, focusing attention on a core contradiction at the heart of early feminist theory. At a time when white elites were concerned with imperialist projects and civilizing missions, progressive white women developed an explicit racial ideology to promote their cause, defending patriarchy for &quote;primitives&quote; while calling for its elimination among the &quote;civilized.&quote; Exploring how progressive white women at the turn of the century laid the intellectual groundwork for the feminist social movements that followed, Newman's book thus speaks to contemporary debates concerning the effect of race on current feminist scholarship.

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